Temples, Nerves and Open Bar: Founders' Frontiers Symposium & Dinner
posted September 24th, 2011
On Wednesday, September 21, 2011 I took part in the Founders' Frontier Symposium and Dinner sponsered by the Founders' Council. The Founders' Council is a group of donors at the Field Museum who contribute generously to both research and infrastructure projects here at the Field. The theme of this year's event was graduate student work at the Field Museum so pairs of students and curators presented their data and talked about their experiences at the museum. My adviser, Dr. Jonathan Haas and I represented the Anthropology Department.
I have given presentations at professional meetings, graduation speeches, heck, even a talk on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day at Boston University to several thousand folks; however, nothing is quite like talking in front of an engaged audience of interested individuals who are not trained in anthropology. It is quite the delicate balance to juggle talking in an intelligent manner while not using jargon, being witty, yet general, informative, but broad, etc etc. Before the talk I was pacing anxiously, sweating beneath my suit, yet Dr. Haas marched right up front, smiled and waved his hands ethusiastically as he told his stories of ancient civilization in Peru. And that's exactly it, he told STORIES, he wasn't lecturing and the audience loved it! A few slides later, a rather goofy picture of me is on the computer and it was my turn. Initial nerves turned to general laughter as I discussed my current dissertation work with Mito temples along the coast of Peru as well as the various projects I've taken part in while here at the Field Museum (there were some jokes sprinkled in there, one at the expense of the department chair, Ryan Williams, who was in the crowd!). I truly have come to appreciate how much the Field Museum has helped me along the way.
After a relieving round of applause at the end of my portion we had a surprise in store for the Founders' Council. We brought out a mummy bundle from the Ancon Collection that really gave everyone that sense of awe and amazement I feel while reading of long lost discovers in a foreign land. The excitement was contagious. The night ended with a lovely catered dinner provided by City Provisions. I only wish I could've eaten more, but smoozing was part of the speaker's responsibilities. I learned a great deal that night and I just want to acknowledge and thank the following people/guests:Harry Axelrod & Eva King, Lenore Darcy, Lanny & Terry Passaro, Donna Freeman,Mike & Susan Rubnitz, Doug & Pam Walter, Robert & Leslie Zentner, Robert & Joan Zabel, Carl & Barbara Plochman, Virginia O'Neil, Barbara Smutnik, Bob Loveman, Alexandra Plattos, Ryan & Arica Williams, and Jonathan Haas.